Certain stories stay with you. One in particular for me came from an interview I heard Sebastian Coe give about his rivalry with Steve Ovett. During the 1980’s Coe and Ovett were two of the best middle-distance runners in the world. Both English but from different backgrounds, they specialised on the 800 and 1,500 metre distances and both had held the world record in each which they’d wrestled from each other. And their rivalry was so intense that it had millions of Britons gripped to their TV screens at a time where track and athletics was generally a very distant second to football, rugby and tennis. Part of the attraction was each of them’s sheer determination to win and beat the other. It was compelling.
This particular interview was being given 25-30 years after their rivalry had ended, yet Coe recounted this specific story in a manner that suggested he was referring to something that was very recent, and clearly still important to him.
Talking about the competition that existed between them Coe mentioned a Christmas Day where practically everyone else in the UK would have been sitting down for Christmas lunch with their families and having a relaxing ‘chill out day’ (except for those doing the cooking that is!) Coe though spoke of how he felt and that he couldn’t relax as, knowing the gritty, determined character that Ovett was, he was convinced Ovett would have been out running, putting the miles in to make himself the best. It bothered Coe so much that he concluded he shouldn’t rest; so much so that he put his running gear on, braved the elements of a cold British winter’s day and went for a good, long run despite bad weather.
He returned home, cold, wet and tired but good and contented in as much that he knew he hadn’t let Ovett better him that day; he was sure he had least matched Ovett’s effort that day.
Years later, Coe said he was addressing a room full of people and he had shared the story of that day with them. More importantly still he’d talked about it for the first time in front of Ovett who was also present in the room. Coe told how he’d been pleased for all those years knowing Ovett wouldn’t have had an advantage against him. That was, he said, until afterwards when Ovett told him (after hearing the story for the first time) that he couldn’t believe that Coe had only gone out running just the once that day!!!
What are you doing to beat your competition? How hard are you working and what are you working on to be the best?
Commit time and effort to get to know your products better, to portray more value and present your products better. Study up on your knowledge of your products, your marketplace and your competition and do this on a regular basis. If you do and they don’t you’ll give yourself the best chance of winning. If you don’t and they do then you have no right to win. Invest in you, invest in your career and you’ll develop What It Takes To Succeed (wit2s). I wish you every success!